Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Right Way of Thinking

I'm a cold hearted bitch.

A while back a house guest was looking through my games for something for us to play, and noticed El Caballero on the shelf.

"That's a good game," she said.
"I don't like it," I told her, "You can have it if you want it."
"No thanks," she replied,"I don't like it much either."
"Let's play Talisman," I suggested.
"Talisman is so chaotic and random, we might as well just roll a die, see who's highest, and call it a day."
"Sorry, I thought you liked Talisman."
"I do, but it is a bad game. I rather spend my time playing something more worthwhile."

Then my head spun around like that chick in the exorcist.

I was confounded and bewildered. How can you say that a game you don't like is a "good" game, but a game you do like is a "bad" game? Clearly I was missing something.

So I crawled out of my cave, looked around and discovered there were these things called "Game Clubs," and "Game Groups," and "Game Nights." People went to these to meet other "gamers" and play games. More importantly, they discussed games. Not only were people discussing games in person, they were also discussing them on the internet. Through these discussions, a set of objective criteria had evolved by which it could be determined whether a game was objectively "good," or "bad." These criteria included elements such as randomness, meaningful decisions, player interaction, perfect information, playing time, and elegance. Apparently benchmarks had been set. It took me a while to determine what these benchmarks were, but eventually, I think I figured it out. I may be mistaken, but it seemed that Chess and Go were towards the top of the scale, Monopoly was towards the bottom, and, the most important benchmark of all was Settlers of Catan. Games whose various criteria fell above Settlers and Chess were "good" games. Games whose criteria fell below Settlers were "bad" games. It was an epiphany. Here I had been happily playing Talisman, Arkham Horror and Merchants of Venus, unaware that these were "bad" games.

I decided that I had to find more worthwhile games. In fact. I decided I had to find the best game. After years of searching, I finally found it: Hey, That's My Fish.

Hey, That's my Fish has variable set-up. I learned that that's important for replayability. All this time I had been playing games on the same board, over and over. I'm such a dope. It has perfect information. That sounds impressive doesn't it - PERFECT INFORMATION. Player interaction. Yep. Meaningful decisions. Yep. Short playing time, and short rules. Absolutely. I think you can teach someone to play in about a minute and a half, and the whole game takes only about ten minutes to play. And most importantly, zero randomness (well except for the set-up, which, I am told, is an allowable randomness).

In Hey, That's my Fish, you play a penguin trying to catch fish, while attempting to set all the other penguins adrift on small ice floes, so that they can't get any fish, and die or something. I know kids who like this game. I know adults who like this game. I know adults who like playing this game with kids. But, crap, I just don't like it. I really tried, but I just don't give a damn about my penguin. Shouldn't I feel something? I should feel happy when my penguin gets a two fish tile, instead of a one fish tile, right? I should feel bummed when he is set adrift, facing certain death on that tiny ice floe, shouldn't I? I should at least feel annoyed that my stupid penguin can't swim? If he could swim, he could just jump off that ice floe and save himself, right? Maybe I am supposed to feel compassion for him or something, because of his disability?

So, Hey That's My Fish is a good game, but I don't like it. My friends think it's because I'm too stupid to understand it's depth of play. But the truth is, I'm just a cold hearted bitch that doesn't give a damn about my lame penguin.

87 comments:

Pat H said...

Find a way to outfit your penguin with dual PPC's and long range missles. That should fix it.

Yehuda said...

Try the following:

"That's good food," she said.
"I don't like it," I told her, "You can have it if you want it."
"No thanks," she replied,"I don't like it much either."
"Let's eat candy bars," I suggested.
"Candy bars are so sugary and fat, we might as well just open our veins, shove cement in them, and call it a day."
"Sorry, I thought you liked candy bars."
"I do, but it is bad food. I rather fill my stomach eating something more worthwhile."

Make more sense, now?

Yehuda

jcsuperstar said...

I think they should retheme it as polar bears stalking seals. That way when the last piece of ice is gone you can go, "Well, that's global warming for you" and feel both empty and sad for having just played, "Hey, That's My Bearded Seal."

TaleSpinner said...

Hmm.. or re-theme it as space mercenaries scavenging the piece-meal remains of a derelict space station. If your space scavenger gets stranded, he floats away into the empty blackness of space...

Ken B. said...

Damn, uba, that's cold.

Rliyen said...

Hmmm, play Hey, That's My Fish! or poke my eye out with a screwdriver...

Hmmm... Now where did I put that Phillips Head?

ubarose said...

Yehuda said...
Try the following:

"That's good food," she said.
"I don't like it," I told her, "You can have it if you want it."
"No thanks," she replied,"I don't like it much either."
"Let's eat candy bars," I suggested.
"Candy bars are so sugary and fat, we might as well just open our veins, shove cement in them, and call it a day."
"Sorry, I thought you liked candy bars."
"I do, but it is bad food. I rather fill my stomach eating something more worthwhile."

Make more sense, now?


So, what you are saying is that there are games that healthy for you and games that are unhealthy. This is new. I hadn't heard of this development yet. Maybe this idea hasn't trickled down to the gamers in my area. I certainly could understand if my friend had said, "Sitting on out butts playing games is bad. We should go to the gym or go for a bike ride." I'd absolutely have to agree with that. However, if El Caballero or Hey, That's My Fish provides some kind of health benefit, I'll definitely give them another shot. Maybe you could share with me how to identify healthy and unhealthy games.

Ryan Walberg said...

I think H!TMF! is a great game. In contrast to other 10-minute "fillers", H!TMF! contains a ton of *real* decisions and plenty of screwage. Plus, kids can even play it.

Pat H said...

What is our society coming to when a game no longer has guns and other weapons? We are being PC'd to death here. At the very least you should be able to insult or beat up your opponent, otherwise I would hesitate to call anything a game without these basic principles.

How do I explain this to my children - that games are being dressed up as "Fun" without violence? If someone brings up some of these games in my house I send the kids out of the room and tell them to play with dinosaurs and robots before they are influenced with unhealthy choices.

These are tough times.

Scott said...

I fought these demons over at BGG recently when I started re-ranking my game.

I had been ranking my games based upon how "good" I thought it was, trying to objectively look at things like design quality, rules consistencies, etc. I think this comes out of the fact that I facilitate game sessions, so am thinking more toward a general public when I look at games.

After starting a thread about it (http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1386022), I realized that it was better for me to just rate it on How Much Scott Likes The Game, and let the means of many people speak to the generalized rating of the game.

So, I've been reworking my ratings (I just finished the Fs). Most games are dropping, some quite a lot. A few games are going up.

It has generated several e-mails from designers asking why my rating for their game went from a 7 to a 3.

Michael Barnes said...

I can see a game being "good" in terms of exclusively mechanical or purely thematic terms...NUCLEAR WAR, for example, is really kind of a crap game. But it's a lot of fun and when you're playing you're much more aware of nuking the shit out of your friends and having a laugh than you are of any internet-generated "issues" there might be in the gameplay. By the same token, CAYLUS is as good a pure design as any, but it's also a complete and utter drag to play, a completely heartless and soulless process without a lick of spontaneity.

However, Uba, you point out something that I think is one of the Great Failings of Human Civilization- the emergence of a global "groupthink" tied to the internet and public discussion forums that generates opinions, standards, and ideas of value. The game groups, clubs, whatever certainly had a sense of this before but the internet made it possible for these game groups/self-appointed pundits/tastemakers to impose their values on the larger hobby. So now we hear that great, fun games like TALISMAN are somehow bad and that TITAN commits Original Sin by having player elimination.

Take MONOPOLY. Talk about a fucking witch hunt. Now, I don't care for the game myself but it's not because it's "the done thing" to dislike it amongst board gamers...but it's this pariah amongst (ahem) "Serious" gamers and if someone like *$# %$#*& were to come out and openly express their love and admiration for it then there'd be much clucking and concern. Sometimes I wonder how many of these people really dislike the game and how many are simply adhering to (titular line here) the right way of thinking.

I just realized that hating MONOPOLY is kind of like hating The Velvet Underground...

Malloc said...


Try the following:

"That's good food," she said.
"I don't like it," I told her, "You can have it if you want it."
"No thanks," she replied,"I don't like it much either."
"Let's eat candy bars," I suggested.
"Candy bars are so sugary and fat, we might as well just open our veins, shove cement in them, and call it a day."
"Sorry, I thought you liked candy bars."
"I do, but it is bad food. I rather fill my stomach eating something more worthwhile."

Make more sense, now?

Yehuda

1 Minor difference, Games don't fucking kill you over time!

No it makes no sense how you slice it, it’s a classic example of internet, game nerd groupthink. There is no good game/ bad game, there are just games you like or dislike for whatever set of irrational criteria floats your boat.

-M

Michael Barnes said...

In response to Pat H- school shootings, kids killing kids, armed gunmen on rampages, etc...that stuff was pretty rare back when we had one thing we don't have today.

Realistic black toy guns.

Creative outlets for violent fantasy (whether it's games, movies, music, or gladiatorial spectales) are _essential_ not just to culture but to civilization. So up with DOOM and out with HEY THAT'S MY FISH.

Ken B. said...

Scott--

Man, I went through that same thing, partly inspired by your thread. Mine was mostly positive changes; I found that I was giving lower rankings to games I really, really liked for this same elusive reason (this objective "good game" criteria).

I bumped up several games to a "10" because I realized that I really liked the games despite any perceived "flaws" and that I would gladly play those games anytime the chance became available. So it went from some sort of nerdy objective ranking to How Much Ken Likes This Game.



Barnes--

In my defense (re: Monopoly), I hated that game as a kid. It took forever and it felt like you couldn't really influence the outcome, just roll, move, buy, hope for the best. I just thought I was weird, because hey, it was MONOPOLY, how could I not like that?

It was refreshing to hear years later that yeah, a lot of people hate Monopoly.

This is one rare instance where I think that the opinion was formed previous to a groupthink effect, rather than the other way around.

Now...Eagle Games, I think they DID get screwed over by groupthink. Ask anyone about several of their games and you get the kneejerk "Bad game! Broken!" by people who haven't even played the game at all.


So it happens, yeah, but not to Monopoly. It deserves all the hatred it gets. If Monopoly played in half an hour or so, I could take it. I've never seen one run in less than 2, and...

YES I'VE PLAYED BY THE OFFICIAL RULES


(Sorry, that's the first thing someone says when you criticize Monopoly..."did you play by the official rules?" No, man, we just made some up, seemed better than reading the rule book).



In defense of Hey, That's My Fish!, it *is* a game to try out with kids and non-gamers. Those types of games have their place. No, I'm not invested in the outcome so much and certainly not wrapped up in the theme, but it's a social thing.

Michael Barnes said...

The thing about numerical ratings, star systems, rankings, etc. don't really make a difference except to these anal rententive BGG types who like to analyze things and worry about whether or not BATTLELORE will beat PUERTO RICO. Either you like a game or you don't.

Oh man, Eagle Games got totally screwed by groupthink...if I were Glen Drover, I sure as hell wouldn't be putting ads on BGG for anything...in fact, I'd hold the site accountable for lost sales and bad publicity. I'm not a huge fan of most Eagle titles myself, but having played most of them I can say that if they were released in the pre-internet 1980s they would be regarded in the same reverential tones as the MB Gamemaster games are today. It doesn't help that there's Eurosnoots (yes) who take "delight" in raking designers like Glen and companies like Eagle over the coals for these supposed transgressions against board game design standards. I've never in my life seen so much nitpicking and bitching over a game as RAILROAD TYCOON, probably the best all-around train game ever published in my opinion. Of course, take a look at the AGE OF STEAM table at the next con and you'll probably see why. Poor potty training has to figure in there somewhere.

At first, and sometimes even now, Fantasy Flight was getting the same treatment...all these ignorant, self-important imbeciles whining collectively about FFG releasing "public betas" or not playtesting or whatever really irks me and I'm glad to see that FFG has wound up becoming pretty much the industry leader despite all the hand-wringing of the "right thinkers".

ubarose said...

Ryan Walberg said...
I think H!TMF! is a great game. In contrast to other 10-minute "fillers", H!TMF! contains a ton of *real* decisions and plenty of screwage. Plus, kids can even play it.


Ryan, and anybody else who enjoys Hey, That's My Fish -

I totally understand and support your preference. My own kid wants me to get it for her. I just don't want to be the one who has to play it with her. She already makes me play the Harry Potter Trivia game with her. There is only so much I can take.

Ryan Walberg said...

scott, I've also received e-mails from designers regarding low ratings for their games. The best thing you can tell them is "leave me the fuck alone or I'll write a review".

The dumbest e-mails I've received are e-mails from fans of the game regarding low ratings for the game. I don't even know what to tell them.

Shellhead said...

Some hobbies attract a disproportionate number of obsessive-compulsive types, as well as pedants, sycophants, and various other folks with narrow minds.

It makes me laugh when I see these guys at BGG try to come up with absolute systems to measure the subjective quality of games. Maybe they are feeling disappointed with some of the games they bought simply because those games were in BGG's Top 100. They may even suspect that they are missing out on actual "fun"... especially when those guys over at the AmeriTrash table are laughing loudly while moving around their plastic figures.

A few of these BGGeeks may even be growing tired of wrestling with their insecurities. Trying to prove intellectual superiority by winning a board game is funny and sad and so missing the point. Games should be fun. That is all.

Pat H said...

It has to be fun in my opinion, even games that most people I see commenting on that are "broken" can be a lot of fun in the right setting. I have a feeling that it is the people who take gaming as a lifestyle who get all fuddled over the terms and the proper descriptions of games - even going against their actual feelings to go along with the snoot crowd.

If of course you deviate from the accepted standards you risk being cast out and regarded as a Neanderthal of gaming - because fun is no longer the aim but rather a examination of the hobby in order to obtain the "PHD in Boardgaming". This sort of shit makes me sick but unfortunately exists in all sects of society.

Euro snoots, music snoots, film snoots - all too fuckin snooty. I'll be getting hammered and talking shit over here listening to Obituary and playing Blood Feud because it's a fun diversion from the grind of being a responsible adult.

No one needs to be reminded that Mozart is better than Tenaglia, or Potempkin is more important than Reservoir Dogs (I'll argue both). I trust that most adults are somewhat cultured and I don't need to paste what I have learned on as my persona in order to champion the cause of cultural superiority at the expense of good old fashioned yee haw fun.

Fuck sakes...

Next time tell her to shove some wooden cubes up her ass and time how long it takes to produce meeples.

Sorry if I have not offended anyone.

Ken B. said...

People take that stuff really, really personally.

I mean, you can cross a line by hating a game so much you feel the need to bash it on each and every place that it's ever mentioned, at which point yeah, that IS annoying.


But receiving emails over a capsule rating? Ridiculous. And designers? We rate your game what we feel like. Behave like an ass and we won't try any of your other games, either. That goes for you, Dude Who Made Ninja Galaxy.

Pat H said...

The problem is these losers that get offended because they have attached their personality to a game design believing that they are just as "elegant" as the game. When you come along and say "this game is boring as shit" then they get offended because you are saying they too are as boring as shit (and probably right).

I am actually surprised at the level of internet stalking that is going on over at some other site's. Receiving e-mails is totally believable.

neonpeon said...

I guess yehuda's analogy makes sense if you view games purely in terms of mental exercise. But that seems at odds with the Euro mantra that quick playing and simple rules = better, otherwise you might as well play Chess and Go all the time.

Seems more like the Euro ideal is a balance of mental exercise with short playing time to fit our busy schedules with a multiplayer social experience... You're itching to play Talisman, but wait, it doesn't fit this ideal - you'll have spent so many hours not solving enough puzzles!

So, this Euro ideal sounds good in theory (to some), but like communism, it doesn't work in practice. Also like communism it tends to sacrifice "humanness" for some imagined ideal of the greater good.

(Don't take the communism analogy too seriously...ha)

RobertB said...

Of course, take a look at the AGE OF STEAM table at the next con and you'll probably see why. Poor potty training has to figure in there somewhere.

Man, that's harsh. There's nothing wrong with Age of Steam. At least nothing wrong with it that Railroad Tycoon didn't cure.

Michael Barnes said...

Hmm...maybe one day I'll go into the email archive and post an article sharing some of the more hilarious ones I got during my time at BGG.

Probably the best was from this designer...I gave his game an 8 after the first few plays using the basic rules and scenarios. As I got more into the system, it became almost impossibly complex for anyone who doesn't have a high-level engineering degree and a ridiculous amount of interest in physics. I realized that the basic system was interesting and the fun was in the discovery of it. The game itself was complete crap- no fun whatsoever. So the guy emails me the 4-5 page diatribe about the game and more or less how I'm wrong. I also took the game to task for probably the shittiest art and production values I've ever seen and part of the missive was a defensive of why the game looked like crap, which wound up being "we were lazy and cheap".

Obiturary sucks, Pat H. Listen to some real death metal. Possessed.

Pat H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat H said...

I have fond memories of Obituary's Cause of Death tour opening for Sepultura. Things went down hill after that album. Possessed is Ok if nothing but a somewhat polished Venom.

Don't be gettin all musi-snooty on me.

Bolt Thrower however epitomizes the grind/death sound - elegant, clever, yet dirty as hell and they only sing(?)about war.

Ken B. said...

KING DIAMOND, BITCHES~!

Pat H said...

Ahh yes, I love King Diamond. Conspiracy rocks.

Nuff said Ken - case closed.

MWChapel said...

I'm a total eurosnob and I don't even play that fluffy crap.

Michael Barnes said...

Look at that, we all come back 'round...King Diamond, Bolt Thrower...now we're talking.

BTW- the latest Bolt Thrower record is really freakin' good. Can't resist a band who has song called "Antitank" that ends with an AT rifle firing.

ubarose said...

Personally, my primary problem lies with the BGG rating system. I have found that their scale has become a standard even among people who aren't members and don't use the site. From talking with other gamers, I myself became familiar with the scale long before I even knew BGG existed.

I think that the problem is that this scale is linguistically skewed to encourage higher ratings. This makes sense, since BGG is a de facto commercial site whose objective is to direct consumers to advertisers to purchase games. A low rating discourages purchase.

Take a look at the language. A rating of 1 means that the game is broken. This implies that even if you hate playing a game, if it is not broken, you shouldn't rate it a 1 (I have had this conversation far too often with other people). Now look at 6. It says that the game has "some challenge." I can recognize that just about any "well designed" game is going to offer "some challenge," even if I don't like to play it. Look at 5 which says "average game." Average game compared to what, all the games available.

So when I consider a game like Hey, That's My Fish, I recognize that it offers some challenge, and, truthfully, my daughter can get me to play just about anything with her. And certainly compared to the overwhelming number of pointless mainstream games, I have to admit that it is probably above average. Therefore the language of the scale guides me to give it, or any other game that meets reasonable "design standards" a 6, even if I don't really enjoy playing it.

Honestly, among the gamers I interact with, you have to make a mental shift, because it is as if there is really only a 5 point scale. When someone says 5, they really mean, "I hate it." 7 means, "I'm willing to play it again, but I don't like it enough to buy it."

My brother and I have developed our own Pirate Rating Scale which, among family and friends better expresses our feelings about games.

Long John Silver/Jack Sparrow/Keith Richards: Wicked Fun (as you can see we can't even agree on which pirate is the coolest)

Capt' Crunch: Okay once in a while, but I wouldn't make a diet of it.

Pussy Sucky Captain Hook: Says it all

Captain Kangaroo: The kids like it, and it doesn't make me want to hit myself in the head with a hammer.

So, using our Pirate Scale, Hey, That's My Fish receives a rating of Captain Kangaroo.

Michael Barnes said...

as you can see we can't even agree on which pirate is the coolest

And you're not even in the ballpark. Correct answer? Captain Harlock.

Mike said...

You guys can keep aruging about who the best pirate is while I go sign on with Captain Morgan and his first mate: Coke.

Aside from the cute-sy theme I like HTMF because the actual gameplay gives me a light-cycles / Qix vibe and those were both cool video games.

Michael Barnes said...

Heresy. How dare you relate a penguin game to TRON.

Shellhead said...

"Captain Morgan sails the roughest seas and the dirtiest toilet bowls."

--quoted from random graffiti on the ceiling of my dorm room during my junior year of college.

Pat H said...

Captain Morgan, King Diamond & Conan - there's one hell of a game in there somewhere.

Oh wait - that was last night...

Michael Barnes said...

Damn y'all, I was perfectly happy sitting here having a class-of-1981 goth rock revival on the ol' Ipod and now here I am switching over to "Abigail"...and after that, a little Basil Poledouris...

Pat H said...

Watch out for the stairs...

Scott said...

The challenge I have had with the BGG rating system is that there are two different systems combined into one. Each rating rank has a short comment - "Very good game, Good game, OK game, Average game, Below average game"
and then a subjective comment about playability - "Enjoyable in the right circumstances, I'm indifferent but may be willing to play, Will strongly resist playing."

These two don't always go together. Take a 3 rating - "Poor Game. Will strongly resist playing."

Caylus was a game that went from 7 to 3 using the replayability system. I will strongly resist playing. Does that mean that it's a poor game? Define "poor" and I'll tell you. I think it's well-designed, but it's not a game experience I enjoy.

So, before, I was trying to apply the first part of each ranking. Now, I'm focusing on the second part, which is the replayability of the game.

People have asked why these rankings are useful. If someone uses the rankings for replayability, then I can see your rankings and have a good idea of what games we might enjoy playing together. If you have ranked them using some objective system that doesn't represent your feelings, then the rankings aren't useful that way.

jcsuperstar said...

ubarose said: I just don't give a damn about my penguin. Shouldn't I feel something?

Since it's an abstract strategy game, I hope not. I'd be way more concerned if you'd written that you'd become emotionally invested in your penguins. That's probably grounds for revocation of your AT status or at least an intervention of some sort.

Pat H said...

You know I have had to sit through endless replays of a certain Penguin movie lately (I have two little ones under 5) - why here? Do they even taste good?

Having said that this might be the right game for my 4 yr old....
if it's possible to house rule some plastic zombies into this somehow. She likes penguins and zombies at about the same rate now.

"Some say the Penguin is mightier than the sword... well I say FUCK the penguin, 'cause you can die by the sword!"

alan polak said...

Man fuck the ranking system. I think it sucks. It's like those top 50 shows you get on tv all the time. It's all bullshit finger in the air crap that changes day by day. What's your favourite movie? Favourite book? I would bet that even if you can answer that it'll change the minute you say it. It's all relative anyway. The worst game in the world can be a riot if you play it with the right people. So does that score it a 10 or a 1? It's a joke. I say saboutage the system. Get back onto the geek and change all your rankings. Project Mayhem stylie

ubarose said...

Scott,

Well put.


pat h,

I know the movie of which you speak. I feel your pain.

I think that you could make the game over to include Zombies. You could maybe draw brains, and body parts on the tiles.


jcsuperstar,

There are some penguins that I do become emotionally invested it. Squawwk for example. It bums me out when another Bioborg stomps his popcorn.



Michael,

I can't believe you made me go up into the attic and start digging around in the comic boxes. I had only the vaguest recollection that Captain Harlock might have been the name of a character in Emeraldas. Anyway I guess I wasn't too impressed with Captain Harlock, because I discovered I have a couple of issues of his book that I don't even remember reading. He looks kind of faggy. I'm sticking with Long John Silver as my favorite Pirate.

mtlawson said...

Scott/Ryan--

I guess I'm lucky that no designers bug me about how I rate my games, because I really rate them on a fun factor. The only glaring exception to the list is Talisman -which I do like- but I recognize isn't the greatest game in the world.

I can understand Scott's not wanting to play a game that is designed well but really doesn't grab a hold of you and say "Play me!" For Scott, Caylus is a prime example; for me, it's something like Pillars of the Earth: it looks great and seems to be very well designed, but man it just doesn't inspire me to want to go and play it.

As for H!TMF!, it's another case of a well designed game that is okay/pretty fun to play, but if I want a 15 minute filler, I'd rather play something else that doesn't take longer to set up than play the game. Especially when the game only takes 10 minutes to play.

--Mike L.

Mr Skeletor said...

You guys are seriously over thinking the whole ratings thing.
And that is half the problem with everyone - it seems now when I sit down to play a new game everyone (including me) is putting more thought into 'what I should rate it" instead of just experiencing and enjoying the thing.

Ryan Walberg said...

mr skeletor, I realized that last week and quit rating games. Too much enjoyment depends on the group and mood and you inadvertently assign too much or not enough to the game itself.

Johnnyrobo said...

One of the worst gaming experiences in my life was playing Caylus for the first (and last) time. Should have known better with any game that promises hot provost action. It wasn't that there weren't any decisions to make, far from it. It's just that I didn't care about making any of them. If I want the king's favor, I think I'd bring him over to Hef's grotto before I seduce him with cube farms.

As for the penguin game, I never minded it. Abstract as hell. But it could be zombies fighting over arms and legs in a river of blood as much as fish and flightless water fowl. However, I prefer my penguins a la Gammarauders - gigantic and fully armed.

-Johnny- said...

I've never met Ubarose, but I think I'm in love.


I also happen to love Bolt Thrower's Those Once Loyal. Which is their next best album? (I haven't listened to any others... yet.)

ubarose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ubarose said...

Mr Skeletor said...

You guys are seriously over thinking the whole ratings thing.


Damn straight. I just got an e-mail from a friend telling me that a game was a 7.2. WTF. So now we are on a hundred point scale? I just want to know if a game is:

Pirate - buy it now.

Bowl of milk - play someone else's copy.

The Hook - ouch (and not in a good way).

Anonymous said...

Scott and/or Ryan,

I am seriously amazed that a game DESIGNER would take the time to personally question your rating of their game. No offense (since you both seem like okay guys), but who the hell are you that they should care? Are they really that senstive? or arrogant that they think everyone should like their game. What a joke.

Michael B - I absolutely think you should share your best BGG mail. A hilarious read I'm sure.

Ska_baron

Juniper said...

It's recently come to light that the Hindenburg disaster was caused by the BGG ratings system.

Pat H said...

Johnny -

Start with Realm of Chaos and work your way up (nice 40k Rogue Trader cover art from the first edition rulebook). It is probably the worst sounding studio wise but it is raw. Most of the songs lean towards the chaos gods in 40k - World Eater & Plague Bearer are favorites. Each album thereafter gets progressively better. If you haven't heard them you are in for a treat. No guitar solo's, no pretending, no forgiving and no nonsense. Most importantly it's impossible to take seriously.

Juniper said...

"However, Uba, you point out something that I think is one of the Great Failings of Human Civilization- the emergence of a global "groupthink" tied to the internet and public discussion forums that generates opinions, standards, and ideas of value. The game groups, clubs, whatever certainly had a sense of this before but the internet made it possible for these game groups/self-appointed pundits/tastemakers to impose their values on the larger hobby. So now we hear that great, fun games like TALISMAN are somehow bad and that TITAN commits Original Sin by having player elimination."

That's a crock of shit. You're essentially arguing that people are assigning their ratings incorrectly; that they laud games that they don't like and pan games that they do. Furthermore, you're arguing that the internet somehow magically compels them to do this. By what authority can you claim to understand the minds of BGG users better than they themselves do? Isn't it possible they just know what they like, and that their preferences are different than yours? Your argument is identical to that of those BGGers who disparage Monopoly fans: "these people are not sufficiently well-informed to understand that my favourite game is superior to theirs."

I realize that this whole blog is a punk-ethic reaction against some of the critical standards that have been applied to boardgames lately, and that's good and probably needed. But you've consistently failed to propose alternative critical standards. It's not helpful at all to say that you like a game because it's "fun." That's not criticism, it's fandom. Fandom is fine, but it's not a position from which you can seriously critique anyone else's aesthetic.

So far, I think that Yehuda and Ryan Walberg have done a better job than the regular contributors to this blog of articulating what makes a game good. Yehuda suggests that a good game must be intellectually nourishing, somehow, so that it refines the intelligence of the players. Ryan observes that a game is a component of a larger social event, and that it's hard to assess a game independently of that event. Both of those contributions are more valuable than your crazy-guy-on-the-bus hysteria about "groupthink" or the orbital pink lasers that the internet uses to control the minds of Caylus players.

Pat H said...

I disagree. I played a raucous game of Blood Feud last night with three of my pals and the game was not meant to be intellectually stimulating. We had beer for the stimulants and we had a blast. The game provided more than enough opportunity for us to interact and strategize in such a way as to have many memorable moments. We are all educated professionals so anyone reading can put away the snoot stick.

I don't think that playing Squad Leader would have had the same effect for us even though I consider Squad Leader more intellectually stimulating than any other game out there - especially all those shit euro games that people fawn endlessly over.

If anyone doesn't think that there is a borg mentality that exists in many circles then you are blind. I don't know about you but I have seen this sort of shit since grade school. I find it hard to believe that you never experienced the "In" crowd and how the marginal kids tried in vain to fit in at the expense of their true opinions.

I'm sorry but that comment from Yehuda didn't tell me much other than gaming is more important than just fun, which I think is bullshit. Sorry Yehuda no offense but I don't agree with that at all.

Was that articulate enough?

Ken B. said...

First--

This blog is ALL ABOUT FANDOM. I thought we were pretty clear on that.


Secondly--

I agree about Yehuda, Ryan, and lots of other commentors. They have had some really invaluable insights about gaming. It's no secret that the contents of our Comments sections are at least equally valuable as any regular content that we post. If we can spurn such discussions with our blog posts, then we feel as though we've done our job.

Thirdly--

I'll use the example of initial expectations. It happens all the time in movies; you read a review about a movie being "bad" or "good". Instantly, this *can* have the effect of changing your expectations in one of two ways. First, it can plant you at one end of the spectrum or the other--"hate" or "love". The problem with this initial position is one of inertia; a movie you go in expecting to hate will have to be FREAKIN' FANTASTIC to pull you back above that watermark--likewise for a movie you expect to be "good"...the thing has to be rancid before you REALLY start souring on it.


Fourthly--

We have no intentions on telling you or any of our readers what game is "good" or "bad". At this point we practically need disclaimers for each of our posts that say, "Oh, yeah, I play Eurogames too." (I just did an article last week talking about some Eurogames we'd played recently!)

What we DO want to do is eliminate the opposite effect--DISLIKING a game or thinking its "bad" due to its genre. I personally have zero desire to tell you what a "good" game is...but I don't want you labeling games "bad" without giving them a fair shake.



That's what we're doing--giving our favorite genre of games a "fair shake".

Ken B. said...

Yehuda suggests that a good game must be intellectually nourishing, somehow, so that it refines the intelligence of the players.


Also wanted to add that while I thought yehuda made this point very admirably, I disagree vehemently that ALL gaming should aspire to this goal.

Tom Hazlett (Southernman) said...

Hey juniper - open both eyes.

Most people in this thread seem to accept that some people play games for fun (look the word up if you don't recognise it) and some people play it purely for an intellectual challenge or even to 'beat the mechanic'/'play the perfect game'.

A lot of people giving this blog some of their attention fall into the fun group and have grown a bit tired of the 'hive-mind' of certain other internet dwellings getting upset when they praise games for pure fun but has no critical approval from the mathmaticians.

Fandon vs critical standards ... Kerrist - we are talking about boardgames here !

Jack Hill said...

Anonymous:

That a designer would question people about ratings isn't entirely unusual. Designers are mostly gamers that are a bit on the fanatic side. (Enough to sit down and spend hours creating games, and then more hours playtesting and selling them. And if they are publishing their own games, they are in for a world of having to obsess on their games in selling and promoting them.)

That said, it is really rude.

I did get attacked once by the Gother than Thou guy. I ripped into his game on a private mailing list. He got a copy, and promptly sent me nasty emails, and trashed one of my games on the geek.

I also got a threatened lawsuit from another mass-market designer. Demanding a retraction, and a glowing article praising his company and games "at the minimum."

That kept me giggling for at least 2 or 3 days.

ubarose said...

I would like to make it clear that although our discussion drifted to the topic of BGG ratings, that was NOT a topic of my original post. My observation of the the evolution of "standards" comes almost entirely from face to face contact with other gamers, many of whom I have played with for 10 or more years. They began to deconstruct games to assess their value. Personally, I play games for amusement. The experience of playing a game is greater than the sum of it's mechanics. A game can have the "perfect" combination of elements, and not amuse me. A game can have a "flawed" combination, even a "bad" or "broken" mechanic and still be highly amusing. So, if you need it spelled out in small words: I believe that "good" and "bad" is completely subjective. Play what you like.

alan polak said...

There is a huge difference between a 'critical' review of a game, movie,book, whatever and the kind of review that we see on various game sites including this one. None of the reviews I have ever read on games can be considered an informed critical review because it is totally subjective. Critical reviews have to be done from a stance of complete objectivity. If you saw a review of the latest blockbuster Hollywood movie by an arthouse critic.....well you wouldn't get an accurate 'critical' review because it's coloured by his personal feelings. So you would dismiss the review. It's part of the problem I have with Dice Tower reviews. Is that a critical review? It's the same thing here. Everyone that posts here that I have read has made it perfectly clear that they _do not only like ameritrash games_. I'm not sure how much clearer this needs to be actually; tatoos maybe? I recently joined a new game group and almost felt the need to justify my 'trashiness' by saying "hey I like euro's too". This however is not the issue. Previous posters have mentioned the 'hive mind' over there on 'other' sites. This is the problem. There are a group of people,who seem to think that just because you play games this gives you some sort of official degree to review games using some kind of made up criteria, made up by the very people doing the supposed critical review. Juniper talks about people here rebelling against "critical standards". Well whose critical standards are we rebelling against here? It's clearly the 'established' idea that "these games are good and these games are bad", and it's a system that has been established and perpetuated by things like the ranking system on BGG, the way people are hammered on the boards for not spouting the popular view( look at the recent Yspahan bullshit), and by not allowing themselves to be assimilated. It is crap. Mr. Skeletor is bang on when he talks about 7.2 ratings being a total joke. What are we measuring...barometric pressure? Rankings are for the mathematicians, the same kind of people who watch 100 greatest film shows or read the bestseller lists to tell them what to buy. These are the same peopl constantly asking " what game shall I buy next". If that isn't hive mind I'll eat my phaser.

Michael Barnes said...

Regarding the rating system...I despise how it's "informed" people now...I hear all the time BGG drones saying halfway through a a game "I dunno, I think I'll give it a 6."

BGG groupthink exists whether you believe in or not. Witness what happens when something goes down like Rick Thornquist leaving. One guy made the dimestore analogy "it's like he took his ball and went home" and the next thing you know I saw that exact phrase in 10 other posts. Ditto for "I don't have a dog in this fight but...". Or rating CAYLUS a 9.6456.

Yehuda- your comment rests on the assumption that somehow some games are more "nourishing" than others based on empirical qualities. I find any game that I play and enjoy with friends nourishing. Everything you said completely falls apart outside of your opinions of what makes a game "nutritious".

I do think there's a huge tendency for people to overvalue and hyperintellectualize gaming...I mean, come on...we're playing board games here. If you want an intellectual exercise, go try to find a cure for cancer or debate Heidegger. Sure, games engage the intellect and that's one of the things that make them fun but to attach this ephemeral "importance" or aire of academe to them just gets a little silly.

Uba- Yeah, Emeraldas is the lady pirate in the Harlock stuff...she's bad ass too. Harlock looks a little faggy in that 1979 anime way, but when he says "When you see my flag, turn your ship" it's more bad ass than anything Jack Sparrow ever did, that's for sure.

Johnny- It's WAR MASTER man, all the way. Bolt Thrower's absolute best. "Unleashed Upon Mankind" will have you reconsidering getting into Warhammer Fantasy Battles. "For Victory" is pretty awesome too...they're all good, best English grind outside of the first two Napalm Death records.

Juniper- Based on the rating system at BGG- which we'll have to take as the standard since it's the most widely used- yes, people are rating games incorrectly because there's a different standard for every user and practically no one adheres to the posted guidelines (which are ridiculous anyway). I've always rated games at BGG with my own scale...so I'm not one of those jackasses who says there can never be a perfect 10 nor am I one of those buffoons who proudly announces that they used the BGG guidelines by posting the text of them in their comment. Even though I think the ratings are completely arbitrary and pretty much a barometer of absofuckinglutely nothing, I've always rated because I think it helps like-minded people get a handle on what I like and what they might like if tastes are the same. But I could give fuck-all about what game is ranked #1 or if a game should be a 7.5 or an 8.

Now, you 're trying to call me out on taking an elitist stance by claiming that my tastes are somehow superior since I somehow know better than others what's good or not. I could care less what anybody else likes, but that doesn't foreclose on my desire or ability to be critical or to make fun. I like what I like. You like what you like. Life continues on.

As for suggesting alternative critical standards, how have we "failed" when we never set out to do that in the first place? All games can be judged on pretty much the same qualities, it's personal preference that ultimately dictates success or failure- there's no absolutes and we never pretended there were- unlike BGG where a user can be shouted down simply for voicing his opinion that YSHAPAN ain't all that great.

How about this- either you like a game or you don't. Nuke or dud. That's my standard. Happy now?

Good shots, Junebug...bring something other than righteous indignation to the rifle range and you might win a trophy next time.

Pat H said...

Warmaster was my first Bolt Thrower album. Ohh the memories, 19 and full of piss and vinegar.

Michael Barnes said...

BTW- It's occurred to me that discussing BGG is frighteningly similar in tone and timbre as talking about abortion.

Clarissimus said...

Maybe a better ratings system wouldn't try to be so precise. Instead a scale of one to ten, give it a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F. (No pluses or minuses allowed.)

A - Excellent
B - Good
C - Average
D - Bad
F - Awful

Pat H said...

It had never occurred to me that games deserve to be rated. Either I like it or don't. Then depending on how many times I feel like playing it determines how much I like it - regardless of how well designed it might be.

I don't rate things anywhere because that rating may change depending on how often I find that I'm pining to play. Sometimes you may "want" to like a game badly based on your expectations but it just doesn't turn the crank and you can't figure out why - how then do you objectively rate it?

"Oh I think this game is a stroke of genius however I never feel like playing it" - this may be true for many people and if so what is the rating it gets and based on what if not the fun and interest factor?

Fuck rating - more playing & drinking.

Shellhead said...

The thing that bothers me the most about the BGG ratings is the ratings by people who haven't even played the game that they are rating.

Ken B. said...

I learned the hard way that you cannot judge a game without playing it, or at least being close enough to the ground level of a session of it being played.

Take Saboteur--sounded like a homerun for us reading the rules. Fell flatter than you can imagine, I eventually traded it.

Take San Juan--a game I thought I would've hated miserably but ended up being one of my favorite time-killers.


It's a hard thing not to let bias cloud your vision, of course...I've been guilty of that myself. But to then actually *rate* something that you haven't played? That's rather silly. It's one thing to being averse to trying it, it's quite another to quantify your dislike without so much as touching a game piece.

Ryan Walberg said...

hacksword has one of the best rating systems on the Geek:
10 - This game is awesome.
7 - This game is pretty good.
4 - This game is not very good.
1 - This game sucks.

Jack Hill said...

I've always contended that the Geek really should adopt a "Good/Bad" binary rating system.

Takes out a lot of the rating game, and makes people actually commit to a decision. (Which would of course be paralyzing to the crowd who believe that a 6.5 is a valid rating of anything.)

I am fond of Rotten Tomatoes mostly because they use that system. Uwe Boll movies are 2% ratings. Lord of the Rings is in the high 90's.

(Although I must admit I did get some amusement out of House of the Dead. Most of it was dissipated by seeing the degradation of Jurgen Prochnow.)

Mr Skeletor said...

If you want to see group think in action just look at the geek spiderman 3 reviews.

It's a film based on a 60s comic book yet people are sitting their bitching about coincidences, too many characters, and muddled plot.

Which is of course what made comic books in the 60s 'classics'.

Transformers is already getting the same treatment. Its a film based on an 80s toy line with a cartoon that made no sense, but was still a ton of fun. Yet the whining nerds are already complaining about dialog and script and acting. In a movie about giant robots turning into cars and beating the shit out of each other. WTF?

I'd love to see the original Star Wars or raiders being released today. I bet anything the internet world would nitpick them to death.

Juniper said...

"Based on the rating system at BGG- which we'll have to take as the standard since it's the most widely used- yes, people are rating games incorrectly because there's a different standard for every user and practically no one adheres to the posted guidelines (which are ridiculous anyway)."

Are you sure you want to stand by this statement? Your claim that "there's a different standard for every user" directly contradicts the claim that BGG is a hivemind. They can't both be true.

"I've always rated games at BGG with my own scale...so I'm not one of those jackasses who says there can never be a perfect 10 nor am I one of those buffoons who proudly announces that they used the BGG guidelines by posting the text of them in their comment."

So then your own ratings are incorrect, too (according to your own definition of correctness)?

"Even though I think the ratings are completely arbitrary and pretty much a barometer of absofuckinglutely nothing,"

Me too! Even Aldie and Derk think that. In fact, I have to believe that the majority of BGG users think that, as otherwise they would just buy all the games in the Top 50 (or whatever number) and then stop. What a wonderful world that would be; no more idiotic "what should I buy next?" threads!

"Now, you 're trying to call me out on taking an elitist stance by claiming that my tastes are somehow superior since I somehow know better than others what's good or not. I could care less what anybody else likes, but that doesn't foreclose on my desire or ability to be critical or to make fun. I like what I like. You like what you like. Life continues on."

Sure. That's essentially an anti-critical stance, and it's fine by me. This point of view says that people should like what they like, and that there's no point in trying to reach any kind of concensus about the criteria by which boardgames are evaluated. The part where you're being elitist is where you insist that BGG users don't like what they like. You seem to be saying that they like whatever Thornquist or Vasel tell them to like. In fact, that's not just elitism, it's a variety of solipsism. You seem to think that you are unique in being capable of making free a decision about whether or not you like a game.

"As for suggesting alternative critical standards, how have we 'failed' when we never set out to do that in the first place? All games can be judged on pretty much the same qualities, it's personal preference that ultimately dictates success or failure- there's no absolutes and we never pretended there were-"

This is disingenuous. F:A was created specifically for the purpose of advocating a specific style of game. You don't need to believe in absolutes to believe that a certain style or aesthetic deserves to be reevaluated.

"unlike BGG where a user can be shouted down simply for voicing his opinion that YSHAPAN ain't all that great."

You're exaggerating what happened in that Yspahan thread.

"How about this- either you like a game or you don't. Nuke or dud. That's my standard. Happy now?"

Not really, because you don't apply that standard consistently. You actually seem to permit three possibilities, not two. Either:
1/ you genuinely like a game, or
2/ you pretend to like a game because Vasel told you to, or
3/ you don't.

Juniper said...

"BGG groupthink exists whether you believe in or not."

I think that the ardent belief in this statement is an aspect of the groupthink here at F:A. Whatever happened to "there's [sic] no absolutes and we never pretended there were?"

Juniper said...

"Critical reviews have to be done from a stance of complete objectivity."

Are you sure that's what you wanted to say? As I understand it, criticism is always intrinsically subjective because it involves a subject (i.e. the critic). Has there ever, in the history of literary criticism, been anyone that credibly maintained that critics must maintain complete objectivity? I'd be very surprised if there were.

ubarose said...

I think we are getting sloppy with our language. There is "critical analysis" which attempts to deconstruct something to explain it, without making a value judgment. And then there are critics, as in reviewers (and I count anyone who states an opinion about something as a reviewer, whether it is a formal review or an informal comment or recommendation) whose purpose is to make a value judgment in the form of an opinion. Both serve a purpose. The problem is when the functions blur and someone says things like, "This game has this mechanic which makes it a bad game," rather than:

1. This game has this mechanic which impacts the game play in thus and so a manner. (critical analysis)

or

2. This game has this mechanic which I don't like, and therefore, I don't like this game. (review)

Fellonmyhead said...

Well done, FATties; bitch about an alleged groupthink on BGG by introducing your own groupthink.

As for the ratings, BGG ratings should be used in the way they were originally intended - to express the rater's preparedness to play the game and not a rating for the game itself. It's the only way they really work, but few want to use them that way.

It's obvious - if everybody rates everything differently or using a different scale then ratings become even more useless than they were in the first place.

Apotheos said...

To say the BGG ratings are pointless is, well, very stupid really. They serve a point, but one must understand the point they serve and take them with a grain of salt. Its the best information you can get about a game in only three characters.

Ones understanding of a game, though, is reflective of ones commitment to researching it. But if I'm out and about and find an unknown game for cheap the rating is where I'll hang my immediate decision. I make buy a lemon. I may overlook a gem. I follow up my immediate assessment with further investigation in both cases.

And how do I do that? I look at the dissenting voices and why they dissented.

Difference in opinion is something I've been extremely frustrated with lately. I stumble over my basic confusions over on my blog in a piece I wrote about anime nerds called Tolerating Obsession and it applies well here as well as in this ridiculous thread I just read on BGG about fundamentalist religion. People, myself included, have an big barrier between their own opinions and the views of anyone else. Groupthink is a comforting thing to immerse oneself in as it obfuscates this problem, smooths over the rough patches if you will. When confronted with opinions that are alien to our own it is much easier to react negatively then it is to consider ones own limitations.

That was a bit abstract. But I think the idea is the same, if I managed to communicate it clearly....

Michael Barnes said...

I have no issue with differing opinions- I love to rough up opinions and have mine roughed up as well. The issue isn't intolerance, it's the presence of very dogmatic thinking (and yes, "groupthink") that flavors a lot of discourse on board gaming. The thing is, it's not exclusive to this hobby as others have suggested.

Take heavy metal. I had a friend who used to rag on me day in and day out when I'd show up at work with Celtic Frost CDs...we'd chat about The Faint or Ladytron or whatever the new indie rock flavor-of-the-month was but he constantly scoffed at my love for metal. A completely dogmatic response to a differing opinion because at the time metal still wasn't the "done thing" for smart, intellectual rock music listeners. A few years on, all of these hipster metal bands like Mastodon, Boris, Isis, etc. came along and made metal "cool". So here comes my pal one day, asking me which Celtic Frost records he should buy (answer- all of 'em except "Cold Lake").

I really believe that not everyone is able to form their own opinion on things without either external stimulus provided by other opinions or the safe vindication that comes with adhering to "groupthink" ideology. Now, I'm not the one to say this person or that person isn't able to but I do believe I'm a smart enough (and empathetic enough) person to determine when someone is really coming out with something that from the heart and originates from their own frame of reference and when it's something that's the product of synthesis. When someone indicates to me what they'd rate a game based on the BGG scale, it's meaningless. When someone parrots statements made by Tom Vasel, it's meaningless. Some time ago there was a Geeklist called something like "Games BGG Ruined For You" that all this stuff about game comments where people didn't realize bad things/faults about various titles...says a lot, I think.

I think something we might be dodging around in all of this is that it may be that board games may not be compatible with the same sort of criticism that other creative mediums allow- again, it goes back to my belief that games are unique in that they are essentially a "kit" for us to complete the author/authors creation in a highly variable, volatile environment that is characterized by small groups of participants who might have wildly differing barometers of worth. Nonetheless, a "right way of thinking" like Ubarose has suggested has emerged from game groups as well as the internet.

We all- myself included- often resort to absolutist statements of criticism and opinion regarding games and I think that's fine. But it doesn't account for variations in setting, participants, and even intangible elements like mood or attitude when we sit down to play a game. I had an absolute blast playing MONSTER MAYHEM even though the game was complete shit and I wouldn't spare the designers from a burning building. How does a rating quantify that? Someone might rate the game a 6 or 7 based on the session or the experience they managed to create with it and another might rate it a 1 based on mechanics alone. There is no absolute value, and contrary to what folks like Juniper are trying to put across, I'm sure as hell not the person to tell you what you like and don't like.

Ken B. said...

Hey! No bumping old threads. That way madness lay.

Mr Skeletor said...

Well done, FATties; bitch about an alleged groupthink on BGG by introducing your own groupthink.

There is no groupthink, it's just everyone following me, because I am a genius.
I should head a religion.

Juniper said...

"...contrary to what folks like Juniper are trying to put across, I'm sure as hell not the person to tell you what you like and don't like."

This is more crazy-man-on-the-bus paranoia. That's not what I said.

My criticism of you is your hysterical belief in a magical force that allows you to correctly identify your likes and dislikes, and that -- at the same time -- convinces *everyone* on BoardGameGeek that they like games that they actually detest.

Michael Barnes said...

And your comment is somehow _not_ "crazy-man-on-the-bus", oh crazy man on the bus?

Juniper said...

'And your comment is somehow _not_ "crazy-man-on-the-bus", oh crazy man on the bus?'

Well, my comment was meant to communicate something, at least. If you just want to call me a name, at least think of one that I haven't used yet.

Oh, all right, I'll say it for a third time:

You insist that you know what you like. Fine. You also insist that the folks on BGG are all so deluded by Vasel, Schloesser, and Thornquist that they profess to like games that they -- in fact -- do not like. Not fine. In fact, I claim that this argument is illogical and absurd. Will you follow me this far, or are should one of us just call the other Hitler and end the discussion?

Michael Barnes said...

You know what? At no point have I said that folks actively like a game based solely on the opinions of any of the self appointed pundits you mentioned. But I have suggested repeatedly- and rightly so in my opinion- that some people are not able to make solid opinions without vindication. Further, I've also stated repeatedly that a lot of people in the hobby lean on and have their opinions colored by those same tastemakers. I have also suggested time and again that there is a "groupthink" ideology that sets standards in the board game community, just like there is in any community. But I have ever said "People like games they don't really like"? No. Your argument is predicated soley on making 1+1=3.

I'll tell you what, you be Stalin and I'll be Hitler. We'll call it a day.

Or you can just be Bill Grundy, because that's how you're coming across at this point.

Juniper said...

"Or you can just be Bill Grundy, because that's how you're coming across at this point."

You're saying that you wouldn't come on to Siouxsie?

Juniper said...

"...I've also stated repeatedly that a lot of people in the hobby lean on and have their opinions colored by those same tastemakers."

Actually, what you said was:

"...the internet made it possible for these game groups/self-appointed pundits/tastemakers to impose their values on the larger hobby."

The latter quote makes the effect of the tastemakers seem downright pernicious. The use of the word "impose" implied to me that the other BGG users were somehow helpless to resist Tom Vasel's insidious influence.

Now you're using the word "colored," which suggests to me that folks may be somewhat tentatively influenced by Vasel and others, but they take other factors into account, including their own preferences and those of their friends.

Maybe I just misinterpreted your initial comment, or maybe you've stepped down a bit from an earlier, more zealous posture. In a thread with the Orwellian title "The Right Way of Thinking," though, I hope you can see why I interpreted your use of the word "impose" as I did.

Michael Barnes said...

You're saying that you wouldn't come on to Siouxsie?

[titular line]Now, that's what I call the RIGHT WAY OF THINKING![/titular line]